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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Cheryl H.

What are the chances that one person has two parents that are afflicted with lung cancer? Well, that's my story...I was only 22 years old when my dad was diagnosed.

He had lung surgery. "Don't worry, I got it all," the surgeon told us. He underwent radiation and chemo. My college graduation was bittersweet with his prognosis hanging over our heads. We lost him not even a month past his 53rd birthday. He had fought with everything he had.

My mom's diagnosis came twenty years after my dad's. When I told her oncologist that we had lost my dad to lung cancer, he was very surprised. (So, I guess the response to my question is that it must be pretty rare.)

At the oncologist's recommendation we tested the home for radon, and it tested negative. I guess we will never know why two people living in the same home both ended up with lung cancer. I am so very grateful for the progress made in those twenty years between my parents' diagnoses, for we now celebrate the fact that my mom is an 18-year survivor! She now fights pulmonary hypertension and is giving it the same fight she gave cancer.

We need more progress. We need more research. We need to discover more causes of lung cancer. And, we need a better prognosis for those who do fight it. I realize that we are the lucky ones that my mom is a survivor. I hope for the day that nobody has to fight for their life.

First published: January 24, 2018

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Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.

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